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  #61  
Old 04-30-2017, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnConstantine View Post
Tripadvisor works pretty well though right? I mean if I'm gonna go to a restaurant, there's no government agency I'll be going to for tips.



And not like lobbying doesn't happen in the public sector, it's basically founded upon it.


TripAdvisor extorts businesses through high pressure sales and recommends the suckers who pay the most to us consumers. So I would say no, they do not work well, and their recommendations have nothing to do with finding quality services. Just like all the other lead generating services out there including Google.

That business model won't last for very long, but instead, is designed to make big short-term profit at the expense of stupid consumers.

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Old 05-01-2017, 01:13 AM
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Originally Posted by brianpatrick View Post
TripAdvisor extorts businesses through high pressure sales and recommends the suckers who pay the most to us consumers. So I would say no, they do not work well, and their recommendations have nothing to do with finding quality services. Just like all the other lead generating services out there including Google.

That business model won't last for very long, but instead, is designed to make big short-term profit at the expense of stupid consumers.
Do you travel much?

When I've been abroad it has been invaluable to read fellow traveller's opinions and evaluations of tourists sites, restaurants, hotels, and various other holiday experiences.

And I know those working in the tourist sector were working hard for good references on this site. Often when I've complimented staff they have asked me to comment on Tripadvisor -- it brings people in.

'Which?' -- another organisation that evaluates goods and services, people go to it and trust it for reviews. Same thing has begun with tradesman; plumbers, electricians, carpenters etc etc.

All the premise is is that actors within the market rely on their references. So we've already created a natural system to consolidate these references and make them easily accessible. There's nothing to suggest that this won't last it's just a continuation of something which is as old as time, it's not going anywhere.

Now with respect to charges this is something worth considering because noone wants to be extorted. So take Booking.com -- it's another network connecting references with a means of booking accommodation. Now because of the scope of the network they can claim to boost your business and bring you customers. So you might have a tourist strip which is totally subscribed to the network and might pay 15% of each customer who books with their hotel.

Well Booking.com don't really DO anything, they're not the ones building hotels, managing or maintaining them, so why should they get 15%?

I think it would then be up to the strip to say, well this 15% we're all paying to Booking.com amounts to X amount. This then makes us THEIR client, and we should use this amount of revenue we represent as leverage to bargain as a bloc. You'd then have to get to a place that was mutually beneficial and equally acceptable for both parties.
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  #63  
Old 05-01-2017, 06:42 PM
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Actors within the market rely on artificially produced references based on which company pays the most money to the host. Their bad reviews are diminished while their good reviews magically float to the top—regardless of their actual performance. The results are skewed by what we now call marketing. A pay to play system where the guy with the most money to put in the pot gets the best reviews posted in the best places. This increases his pot, but he doesn't actually have to improve his performance to stay on top—he just has to pay more money.

'There is a sucker born every minute'- P.T. Barnum.

This is an unsustainable business model. I know service companies that actively buy up smaller fish to gain control of their market. Their motto is: every service in the book, we own. Every customer with a need is connected to our number in some way, no matter what.

Yeah, people occasionally figure out company A is an over-charging douche-bag, but company B and C and D is also the same parent corp.

Capitalism eventually leads to this scenario. Or, capitalism as we now practice it in the west.

It's inevitable. Eventually we can no longer sell any more of our delicious potato chips in the country we started in, and so we start lobbying the govt to open new markets abroad. So... what happens when we run out of countries abroad? When there is no more growth to be had?

I'm thinking: we kill off a bunch of people and do a reset.

This is no way to run the planet. There has to be a new way. A new idea.

I'm optimistic it will be found. I don't know what it is, but it's not more capitalism. Oh, and it's not more communism either.

A new idea. That's what we need.
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  #64  
Old 05-02-2017, 01:16 AM
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Originally Posted by brianpatrick View Post
Actors within the market rely on artificially produced references based on which company pays the most money to the host. Their bad reviews are diminished while their good reviews magically float to the top—regardless of their actual performance. The results are skewed by what we now call marketing. A pay to play system where the guy with the most money to put in the pot gets the best reviews posted in the best places. This increases his pot, but he doesn't actually have to improve his performance to stay on top—he just has to pay more money.

'There is a sucker born every minute'- P.T. Barnum.

This is an unsustainable business model. I know service companies that actively buy up smaller fish to gain control of their market. Their motto is: every service in the book, we own. Every customer with a need is connected to our number in some way, no matter what.
Well in terms of the economy there are really two ways to go and all the variants between these two points as I mentioned. We either leave people to their own devices. Or we control production centrally. Or we have a mix. There really isn't anything you could do which wouldn't fall within these categories.

And no Tripadvisor and user driven reviews in general are not all just artificial, that's just silly. I don't even think that's how it works.

Say I've got 100 reviews, 10 5-stars, 70 4-stars, 10 3-stars, 2-stars and 1-star share 5 a piece. You can click on my 1 or 2 star reviews and read, it's not hard to access them. And you decide whether these people are just implacable or have valid objections and weigh that up against the more positive reviews.

Really the money is paid for clicks and SEO (search engine optimisation), more people who click on your hotel the more bookings you get. It is what it is, but if I'm searching for s specific place that becomes irrelevant anyway.

Most organisations have Facebook accounts nowadays, mine included. People can leave reviews, we do our best to make sure these people are satisfied. And the good reviews are up there with the bad; some of them are terrible

Again all we need to agree on is that this is already happening and is scalable. We can vet goods and services, we do it already. Ultimately it is people getting by on their reputation. If you know of any terrible hotels with nothing but glowing reports all over Tripadvisor I'm all ears -- I use it a lot, not my experience at all.

And being scared of monopoly is understandable. But that's why I mentioned how intent most corps were to keep Britain in the EU. Brussels in the biggest lobbying centre in the world outside of Washington. Those with the money have offices there solely dedicated to influencing political decisions which affect the entire continent to the betterment of their business goals. You think they won't be employing tactics to squeeze out SME's?

On the subject of capitalism and communism. Don't necessarily advocate either or. Only the non-initiation of force, and voluntarism.

You can do what you want after that. Want to hold things in common? -- fine start a commune and hold everything in common, divide it all up as you see fit so long as it's voluntary it doesn't matter. I mean, there are such things as co-operatives now.
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Old 05-06-2017, 04:19 PM
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It is exactly how it works. If you owned a service business you would see it first hand.

When businesses talk about SEO in relation to advertising, they are talking about that nerdy computer guy who tricks Google and Bing (etc) into thinking more people are looking for them than really are. This pushes them to the top of the search engines in their local market. It's not at all a natural process of clicks and searches by consumers. It's a marketing trick performed by paid professionals.

Businesses also pay for positive reviews across all of their social media sites. This is done by third party companies that employ reviewers to do this covertly. It's technically illegal here, so the details are hush hush.

My point is: the economy doesn't work at all like you think. The bubble you live in is so far from reality it's almost silly.

I understand the concept of peaceful anarchy, but in reality, it's just as lost in unicorn land as pure Marxist theory.

I'm looking for another idea entirely. One that hasn't been invented yet. Or maybe one that hasn't yet got enough recognition to show up in a google search.

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Old 05-06-2017, 05:36 PM
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It might be better now, but 2 or 3 years ago there was practically an industry based on writing fake TripAdvisor reviews...
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Old 05-06-2017, 05:53 PM
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As a user, I pretty much ignore the most effusive and the most critical reviews. I use it to get a general sense of the place -- but to me, that's about all its good for. The reviews may or may not align with what I actually experience -- so I take it all with a grain of salt.
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Old 05-06-2017, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Myers View Post
As a user, I pretty much ignore the most effusive and the most critical reviews. I use it to get a general sense of the place -- but to me, that's about all its good for. The reviews may or may not align with what I actually experience -- so I take it all with a grain of salt.


I own a small plumbing service company. We are by no means anywhere near dominating our market. But if you Google us, and you're in our service area, and our ideal customer, it looks like we are big players. This costs me about $250 per month. It's cheap for what we get, but it's what I'm talking about on a very small scale. I used to pay Angie's List, and the BBB, but have given those up for a nerdy genius in Florida somewhere. I have no idea who he really is, or how he does it. There is a huge industry built up around this model.

Imagine what I could get if I could pay $5000 per month. Or $50,000.

...and I live in an apparently regulated capitalist society. Imagine if there were no regulations. Could I then pay to have my competition killed? Maybe in their sleep. Of course, I'd have to hire private security to keep from getting killed myself.

Look, I'm actually a nice guy. I would never kill or harm anyone intentionally for any reason. But there are plenty of people who would. And those people shape the world. They are the reason we make rules. If everybody drove like me, there would be no need for 90% of the traffic laws on the books. But they don't.
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Old 05-06-2017, 07:46 PM
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And yeah, online reviews mean something totally different to me as a business owner, than many consumers. It's mostly bullshit. Just because you had a good experience at some establishment with positive reviews, doesn't mean the reviews weren't bought and paid for by some huge corporate conglomerate with overall crappy service. It might just be you are marketing blind and seeing what you 'expect' to see.

Or... maybe you're just a dumbass with no individual assessment skills.

Only the cream with the most money behind it rises to the top.
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Old 05-06-2017, 11:07 PM
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Oh, sure. I know it all works, more or less, although Google has changed since I was really into SEO -- or tried to be.

I'm only marginally involved now with the content development aspect of it, often with direction from SEO companies my clients hire -- and some of them spend thousands if not tens of thousands a month on SEO and Google adwords etc.

It's hard to get them to tell you exactly what these companies do, but it's all based on analytics that I don't really need to understand beyond what they tell me regarding adding certain keywords or making various alterations to a website.

From the consumer perspective, just who is it that can be bothered writing online reviews anyway -- it they aren't looking for attention or gratification or if they don't have some kind of general ax to grind.

We like to stay at B&B's and smaller inns and boutique hotels, and once in awhile, my wife will write a positive review if we have a good experience, but that's all about her affinity for mom and pop businesses as the underdog etc.

For consumer products, the online reviews are just about useless, although sometimes if a particular flaw is mentioned enough times, it's probably a cause for concern.

A while back, I wanted to buy an espresso maker without breaking the bank, and the reviews varied so much for any given product, I just gave up and asked around for recommendations and checked them out in the store. Same as it ever was...

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Old 05-06-2017, 11:11 PM
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And you may ask yourself where does that highway go to...
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Old 05-06-2017, 11:16 PM
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Heh. We could go on like that for a good while.

But whatever it is that makes me feel wide awake in the middle of the night is starting to pass, so I'll let it go for now...
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Old 05-06-2017, 11:36 PM
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Yeah, go to bed dude. It's almost morning where you are.😀
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Old 05-07-2017, 03:32 AM
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Oh, I'd already been to bed. Sometimes I wake up at 3:00 or so and the mind starts racing.

If I read for a bit, I get sleepy. Going online sometimes has the opposite effect -- so I don't do that very often.

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Old 05-07-2017, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by brianpatrick View Post
And yeah, online reviews mean something totally different to me as a business owner, than many consumers. It's mostly bullshit. Just because you had a good experience at some establishment with positive reviews, doesn't mean the reviews weren't bought and paid for by some huge corporate conglomerate with overall crappy service. It might just be you are marketing blind and seeing what you 'expect' to see.

Or... maybe you're just a dumbass with no individual assessment skills.

Only the cream with the most money behind it rises to the top.
OK fine, evidence then please. Evidence that Tripadvisor makes its money by selling good reviews and that the entire global matrix of user based reviews is just multi-billion conspiracy with little to no validity.

So far as I can tell everything points towards click based advertising, SEO. ie I search for certain services within Tripadvisor and organisations will pay to feature as top searches. That's the revenue stream.

Again, this DOESN'T MATTER if I'm looking for a specific place. If I pass a little known restaurant in the middle of South East Asia and don't know whether I should eat there or not, I can usually find a review made recently by a fellow traveller. Believe me no government agency is touching these places, they do a good job because they're trying to earn a decent reputation. So yeah at its base this is how the economy works. Success generally takes hard work, the 'cream' at the top are not all just cheating, some might be, sure, but it's not the rule.

It's simply networking. There really isn't any other way I would do it, apart from just taking my chances. How do you do it? I think that would be useful to know. Follow your nose, check online reviews, go by word of mouth? -- hey man you might well eat some dog, the government can't save you from everything.

Look man I'm not saying it's perfect, but really who cares about some government agency who might visit once a year? We all know there are some fucked up kitchens in the world, just don't eat there. It's very simple to do these type of things without government oversight. A whole heap of hygiene rating agencies will spring up in their absence.

The strange thing is we say things like 'what if some madman doesn't want gays on his road!?' or 'what's to stop people selling dog and pretending that it's beef!?'. But what happens when some white supremacist has control of the state and implements and ploy to get rid of undesirebles? Oh wait...
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Old 05-07-2017, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnConstantine View Post
A whole heap of hygiene rating agencies will spring up in their absence.
And they'll be totally honest. lol

Originally Posted by JohnConstantine View Post
The strange thing is we say things like 'what if some madman doesn't want gays on his road!?' or 'what's to stop people selling dog and pretending that it's beef!?'. But what happens when some white supremacist has control of the state and implements and ploy to get rid of undesirebles? Oh wait...
There's nothing strange about being cognizant of past events.
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Old 05-07-2017, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by moonpunter View Post
And they'll be totally honest. lol



There's nothing strange about being cognizant of past events.
Governments aren't honest either dude. But the difference is if people lose faith in you as a private agency then organisations suddenly stop paying for your approval. There is a way to divest, it's kind of important.

“Anarchists did not try to carry out genocide against the Armenians in Turkey; they did not deliberately starve millions of Ukrainians; they did not create a system of death camps to kill Jews, gypsies, and Slavs in Europe; they did not fire-bomb scores of large German and Japanese cities and drop nuclear bombs on two of them; they did not carry out a ‘Great Leap Forward’ that killed scores of millions of Chinese; they did not attempt to kill everybody with any appreciable education in Cambodia; they did not launch one aggressive war after another; they did not implement trade sanctions that killed perhaps 500,000 Iraqi children.

In debates between anarchists and statists, the burden of proof clearly should rest on those who place their trust in the state. Anarchy’s mayhem is wholly conjectural; the state’s mayhem is undeniably, factually horrendous.”


― Robert Higgs

Being cognizant of the history of the state, it is strange how steadfast we are in defending it.
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Old 05-07-2017, 05:43 PM
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Wholly conjectural -- pretty much why the only place you're likely to run into an anarchist is an online debate forum.
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Old 05-07-2017, 05:44 PM
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Look, dude...

At their best, governments are just people appointed by constituents to carry out a set of mundane functions that we (as people) charge them with carrying out.

Sure they have become corrupt, but much of the corruption starts with businesses (private industry) lobbying, paying-off, or blackmailing said officials to make laws and policies which will allow the same businesses to make more money.

Turning the whole world over to free market capitalism will just make it worse.

Okay... we could go back to local autonomy everywhere, but what do you think will happen when one community decides they are not getting enough water to supply their citizens because the community next door built a dam on the river to satisfy their own needs?

How long before the dam gets blown up and their is a war?

Anarchy is all good on paper, but it doesn't in any way mirror real life.

Again... there will have to be another way. We have to invent it or die.
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Old 05-07-2017, 05:51 PM
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In some respects, much as I don't like the idea or some of its more nefarious implications, globalism is the most promising idea out there.

As technology and connectivity gets better, it becomes harder and harder for anybody to force children in Bangladesh to work 12 hours a day for $30 a week. Politicians can get away with less under world scrutiny. Look how they climb up Trumps ass at every turn. If he does something illegal, you think he wouldn't be prosecuted and impeached? In today's climate?
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Old 05-07-2017, 10:55 PM
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Originally Posted by brianpatrick View Post
Look, dude...

At their best, governments are just people appointed by constituents to carry out a set of mundane functions that we (as people) charge them with carrying out.

Sure they have become corrupt, but much of the corruption starts with businesses (private industry) lobbying, paying-off, or blackmailing said officials to make laws and policies which will allow the same businesses to make more money.

Turning the whole world over to free market capitalism will just make it worse.

Okay... we could go back to local autonomy everywhere, but what do you think will happen when one community decides they are not getting enough water to supply their citizens because the community next door built a dam on the river to satisfy their own needs?

How long before the dam gets blown up and their is a war?

Anarchy is all good on paper, but it doesn't in any way mirror real life.

Again... there will have to be another way. We have to invent it or die.
Anarchy does mirror real life mate. Most of life is anarchic, in fact. All it is is acting voluntarily, most of everything you do, you do out of choice.

I haven't charged the government with carrying out anything, neither have you. You don't have a choice in what they carry out, really. There wouldn't be such a gulf between public opinion and government action otherwise.

The problem of the commons is an interesting question. All I will say for now is that governments don't really prevent wars over finite resources, in fact they make them a lot more feasible. Because you've got the tax revenue and the army on standby. The lead up to the 6 day war is a good example.

In a free society the war would have to be popular and economically viable. Most conflicts simply aren't, and therefore are only made possible with taxation.
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Old 05-08-2017, 04:00 AM
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Sure let's have no government inspectors or legal system; when some irresponsible company poisons me I'll just leave them a bad review on Yelp. Take that!

The reason people cling to government is in one form or another it's existed since prehistoric times. There might just be a reason for that.
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Old 05-08-2017, 04:27 AM
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I've seen this argument play out on the internet umpteen times.

Some people do a better job than others, but really, it's not very difficult to appropriate a set of ideas and points of argumentation.

And it's not so much about "defending the state" either. When it comes to getting from point A to point B or talking about the feasible or practical means of implication, that's when things usual get fuzzy.

But I suspect you're right -- even if things were to descend or somehow transition to anarchy, some form of structure or hierarchy would eventually rise out of it. I'm not necessarily claiming it's something inherent or natural -- but the idea of a state has been ingrained in the psyche over the millennia, so I'll go out on a limb and say it's inevitable. People will go back to what is familiar, despite any obvious flaws.

So yeah -- it's cool to be an anarchist. And the state vs. anarchy is a fun argument to have online or over a few beers with your friends -- but let's not pretend it's anything more than that.
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Old 05-08-2017, 05:25 AM
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Originally Posted by moonpunter View Post
Sure let's have no government inspectors or legal system; when some irresponsible company poisons me I'll just leave them a bad review on Yelp. Take that!

The reason people cling to government is in one form or another it's existed since prehistoric times. There might just be a reason for that.
Nobody said anything about no legal system.

Ever got food poisoning from somewhere? -- what did you do? (I know you didn't get the government involved)

I know what I did... nothing, just didn't eat there again. The truth is the government can't stop you getting food poisoning. They don't have the scope to make sure every kitchen in the country is up to standard. The main reason you don't get food poisoning all the time is because it's bad for business.

And you gotta be a little creative, Tripadvisor is just an example of how we collectively vet goods and services. There's nothing to stop the same agencies currently operating, who are just contractors anyway, continuing to operate in a free society. They could simply charge a small fee to organisations to subscribe. The standard symbol of quality, then, is simply that my service is 'X approved'. (Think of charities as well. If you're concerned about the environment, go to GreenPeace's website and do business with their approved organisations... see how it works?)

I know people will just say 'OK, so I buy off the agency so that I can show their approval sticker in my window, meanwhile I continue to sell dog'. But it's not like government agencies can't be bought so then we're no worse off. Personally I don't think rating agencies who were entirely disingenuous, and whose approval didn't mean anything, would last terribly long.
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Old 05-08-2017, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnConstantine View Post
Nobody said anything about no legal system.
So what, we're going to GoFundMe a legal system? Or just use TV judges for everything?

And it's a lot more serious than food poisoning. eColi, Listeria, Mad Cow's disease? Any of those ring a bell? With the only regulation being TripAdvisor and Yelp I'm sure food companies will totally worry about all that. LOL
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Old 05-08-2017, 05:55 PM
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We could put Judge Judy on the Supreme Court. Then allow the highest bidder to choose the rest.
That can't go wrong.
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Old 05-08-2017, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnConstantine View Post
Personally I don't think rating agencies who were entirely disingenuous, and whose approval didn't mean anything, would last terribly long.

Ha ha. I know salesmen who could sell you a new asshole every year and convince you to thank them for it.

You seem naive about how the business world works.

GE has been selling you crap since 1892.

It's not the product; it's the salesman.
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Old 05-08-2017, 11:32 PM
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Originally Posted by brianpatrick View Post
Ha ha. I know salesmen who could sell you a new asshole every year and convince you to thank them for it.

You seem naive about how the business world works.

GE has been selling you crap since 1892.

It's not the product; it's the salesman.
Entirely disingenuous though BP?

I don't know of any organisation which glcan get by for very long by being ENTIRELY disingenuous.

I'm surprised no-one has mentioned the financial rating agencies which were huge contributors to the crash in 2007/8. Surely a pretty good example and ratings not being worth the paper they were printed on. BUT there's no doubt in my mind that in order for any of these guys to survive for every scandal and blunder the service generally works
ie: using their framework as a guide for investment yields positive returns. Otherwise people wouldn't pay for their ratings because they wouldn't be worth shit. Investors really aren't THAT stupid, sorry to burst your bubble
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Old 05-09-2017, 12:16 AM
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Originally Posted by moonpunter View Post
And it's a lot more serious than food poisoning. eColi, Listeria, Mad Cow's disease? Any of those ring a bell? With the only regulation being TripAdvisor and Yelp I'm sure food companies will totally worry about all that. LOL
You're not really getting it, stop thinking about Tripadvisor and think about market incentives.

Firstly, all of those things happened WITH government 'oversight'.

And like I said hygiene agencies can and will continue to operate. I'm a supermarket, I want to have a positive reputation for quality. I'm a farm and I want the same, so that I can sell to the supermarket. I'm a food hygiene agency who can provide a mutually beneficial service for both parties.
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Old 05-09-2017, 02:34 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnConstantine View Post
You're not really getting it, stop thinking about Tripadvisor and think about market incentives.

Firstly, all of those things happened WITH government 'oversight'.

And like I said hygiene agencies can and will continue to operate. I'm a supermarket, I want to have a positive reputation for quality. I'm a farm and I want the same, so that I can sell to the supermarket. I'm a food hygiene agency who can provide a mutually beneficial service for both parties.
Yeah, right. Lol
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